Equalities and schools

We support schools, academies and settings in Northumberland to improve the life chances of all pupils by ensuring that they are safe from discrimination. We are committed to ensuring that equality is promoted and diversity celebrated.

This section contains links, reports and guidance to help all settings, schools and academies to promote equality and tackle discrimination.

In Northumberland, there is dedicated support for schools, academies and settings to help them not just to be compliant with the law, but also to celebrate and exemplify commitment to the equality agenda.

If you have a concern, or require support in your school to develop published equality information and objectives, please do get in touch.
Every child has the right to learn and flourish in a safe environment free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation based upon protected characteristics. Children and young people are more likely to fulfil their potential in education when they feel safe and know that equality and principles of fairness are prioritised.

Schools, academies and settings contribute significantly to improving the life chances of all young people by taking steps to ensure they are all safeguarded from harassment, and discriminatory practice. This isn't always about other children being unkind; issues of accessibility and inclusion for children with protected characteristics can sometimes mean that a school or setting discriminates becuase they misinterpreted the legislative context

All settings, academies and schools should challenge, record and work to eliminate all forms of bullying or discrimination, including:
  • homophobic biphobic or transphobic incidents and language
  • bullying relating to race, religion and belief
  • discrimination that relates to disability
Hate crimes and incidents can be the precursor to radicalisation and extremism. It is important that schools, academies and settings recognise this and have described annually in their published equality information all of the proactive, successful and protective ways in which they have prepared children and young people to live in pluralistic modern Britain.
Any school, setting or academy can request support if they would like help to address this legal requirement.

Links to resources we have created for Northumberland schools and settings 

Strategy and reports

Equalities Statement 2017: Education and Skills' contribution to the wider corporate published equality information which is refreshed annually.

Language, ethnicity and identity. Sets the context of Northumberland according to the school census

Racist Incidents in schools 2016-2017: A summary of the incidents received from contributing schools and academies in 2016-17

Northumberland Education Accessibility Strategy. Every school and academy should have its own accessibility  plan. Many of the useful links and resources in the overarching document can be used to inform these.

If a school would like support to refresh their accessibility plan they can get in touch.

Padlet resources

Padlets are an interactive canvas where links, documents, images and files can all be stored together. A chrome based browser is needed to view them.

Gender Variance: A toolkit for schools and professionals

Recommended external web sites
  • Stonewall education resources to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in education environments and give useful guidance to, for example, setting up an LGBT Youth Group 
  • educate egainst hate  The DfE counter radicalisation and extremism web site for teachers, school leaders and parents
Schools are legally required to eliminate discrimination and to promote equal opportunities, as well as fostering good relations (Equality Act 2010). All schools have experience of developing policies and implementing practices which directly tackle these requirements. Where those policies and practices are aligned with the curriculum, schools are able to influence attitudes and create the potential for social change that better prepares children for life in modern Britain.

Education is a key determinant of life chances and education attainment continues to be strongly associated with socio-economic background. Pupils with special educational needs account for seven out of 10 permanent exclusions from school in England.

There is also evidence lesbian, gay, bisexual and gender young people are being penalised by unfair treatment and bullying in the education system. Stonewall's 2017 School Report is the most comprehensive survey into the current experiences of LGBT pupils in Britain. 
  • 45% of lesbian, gay and bi pupils and 64% of trans pupils are bullied for being LGBT at school
  • Almost half (45%) of these pupils never tell anyone about the bullying
  • 84% of trans young people and 61% of lesbian, gay and bi young people have self-harmed

The web sites listed below can help schools to support children and young people who may have protected characteristics..

Support for schools and academies to set objectives that will improve equality in their setting

Every school and academy, in addition to publishing refreshed equality information annually should publish at least one SMART objective outlining how it intends to address equalities related issues which emerge from the published information and context that has been described. Every school is different, and will face different challenges. Some examples of the themes schools and academies in Northumberland choose to address include:
  • Preparing children for life in pluralistic, multi-faith Britain
  • Diminishing differences in outcome for identified groups of children with protected characteristics (boys, girls, FSM, SEND, EAL, GRT)
  • Ensuring that staff have CPD and that school is prepared in an anticipatory capacity to meet the needs of children with disabilities
  • Ensuring the visibility of LGBT role models and of family diversity throughout school life, the curriculum, the language that is used.
  • Making school a trans-inclusive environment
  • Tackling low attendance in a particular group with protected characteristics (e.g. white British boys eligible for Free School Meals)
These are examples, and this is not an exhaustive list.
Support for schools when they have concerns about a young person vulnerable to extremist perspectives

In Northumberland. as in most of the North East of England, the most significant threat in terms of extremist groups influencing children and young people comes from the far right. There are other forms of extremist activity present, but in general, the issues we have referred to us tend to have issues of hate and intolerance underlying them.
A school or academy should respond proportionately, and should facilitate the sharing of intelligence about community tensions.

Ofsted inspects how schools carry out safeguarding and other duties, including the effectiveness of these arrangements to ensure there is safe recruitment. This includes the approach to keeping pupils safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism, including what is done when it is suspected pupils are vulnerable.

School inspections will consider how well leadership in schools ensures the curriculum prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern, multi faith, multicultural Britain. This includes the promotion of fundamental British values including tolerance and mutual respect through spiritual, moral and social and cultural aspects of learning.

Prevent in schools
The particular issues facing school communities will vary across the county, and schools must know their context and be prepared to recognise local challenges.  We work closely with Northumbria Police to ensure good lines of communication are maintained between schools and the local police force. If in doubt, please do seek advice. The expectation in Northumberland is that all staff will complete the online Prevent module as e-learning.
Schools with concerns about staff and links to violent extremism should contact the local authority designated officer (DO).

If your concerns are about pupils or community members,
  • Email: specialbranch@northumbria.pnn.police.uk
  • Phone: 101 Ext 63854
If you are concerned about hate crime or radicalisation in school and the surrounding community please contact:
Michelle Redfern (4514)
Community Engagement Officer
Northumberland Area Command There is also a confidential and free national counter-terrorism hotline 

0800 789 321



Good community cohesion demonstrates commitment to valuing diversity and celebrating difference. Through combatting prejudice-based bullying and discrimination, it aims to broaden the horizons of pupils.

Citizenship and PSHE education offer opportunities to teach about safe relationships, respect and democracy.

Responsible citizenship also provides evidence of a school’s compliance with the legal equalities requirement to foster good relations.
Supporting schools to record racist incidents since 2002

The local authority continues to collect and analyse reports from all Northumberland schools about the number of racist incidents they have dealt with and recorded. The online form we use gives schools the opportunity to request further support to address hate crime through staff CPD or pupil workshops delivered free by Northumbria Police.

 To report a racist incident in your school or academy please follow this link
Show Racism the Red Card work with pupils in schools of all phases around the theme of racism in football and society. They have a number of anti-racism teaching resources for purchase and Northumberland schools can request free workshops in schools.
There is an annual competition for schools where pupils have used their resources.

Schools in Northumberland can all use our online reporting mechanism for racist incidents. This offers the opportunity to request additional support if you fear that a young person may be being radicalised or vulnerable to extremism, or to request a hate crime intervention with children or young people from Northumbria Police.

Black History Month provides an opportunity to learn more about race equality each October.

Financial disadvantage is not a protected characteristic in equalities legislation, but affects the achievement of many children and young people.

The social mobility commission is an advisory, non-departmental public body with a remit to monitor progress towards improving social mobility in the UK, and promoting social mobility in England.

The North East Child Poverty Commission aims to build public and political support for actions to improve the lives of poor children living in the North East. 

The Pupil Premium Grant is paid to schools to support children who may be financially disadvantaged and who tend to do less well at school. 

The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit is a useful resource to help schools define strategies which work effectively to support disadvantaged pupils

The Sutton Trust aims to improve social mobility through education

Local Charity Children North East do a great deal of work with schools on Poverty Proofing
In addition to the strategies listed on the Education Endowment Foundation web site, schools will also find a number of studies and programmes recruiting new participants.
Northumberland schools can also commission a Pupil Premium Review. Details can be found in the Services to Schools Brochure. 
There is a section of the Northumberland Education web site which has a focus on disadvantaged pupils.
Further links and resources to help schools consider how to recognise and set objectives relating to closing gaps and ensuring equality in education and provision can be found below.

Some further links and online resources listed below may support schools to understand aspects of equality and diversity and promote fairness across all strands.

The Northumberland Trans Identity and Gender Diversity toolkit. Launched in October 2017. This resource supports schools to be safe, inclusive places for trans and non-binary children. (It is web based and will require an Internet connection and Google browser).

Unlocking Opportunities is a new, free e-learning course developed by the Equality and Human Right Commission and John Moores University for teachers to help meet the rights of disabled learners under the reasonable adjustments duty.

Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils. (EHRC 2015) The focus of this guide is on the practical implementation of the reasonable adjustments duty in schools. It includes case studies showing how the duty can be applied in contexts which will be familiar to teachers. The guide also gives answers to frequently asked questions about the reasonable adjustments duty.

Next Generation Text Relay Service explains to schools how the text relay service can be used to communicate with people who prefer to communicate through a group of relay assistants waiting to relay phone conversations between a text-user and a phone-user. When making a phone call a text-user 'talks' by typing to the relay assistant who speaks their words to the phone-user, and then the relay assistant types the phone-user's spoken reply to the text-user.

Discrimination and harassment can have profoundly negative effects on a young person's emotional wellbeing. Northumberland's Primary Mental Health Workers have created a list of useful web sites to help promote emotional reslilience and wellbeing in young people.